Living With the Sins of Their Fathers: An Analysis of Self-Representation of Adolescents Born of War Rape


Erjavec, Karmen, and Zala Volcic. 2010. “Living With the Sins of Their Fathers: An Analysis of Self-Representation of Adolescents Born of War Rape.” Journal of Adolescent Research 25 (3): 359–86. doi:10.1177/0743558410361373.

Authors: Karmen Erjavec, Zala Volcic


Children born of war rape continue to be a taboo theme in many post-war societies, also in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH). This study is based on in- depth interviews with eleven adolescents born of war rape in BH.The main goal is to present how these adolescents represent themselves and their life- situations. On the basis of the research we identify four key themes: 1) their continued sense of hostility even after the end of the war; 2) the internalized guilt; 3) the role reversal; and 4) the role of reconciling the war enemies. The analysis of life-stories shows new identifications of traumatic events and trauma. More than half of the interviewed girls suffer severe psychological and physical abuses.The research argues that there are three crucial factors influencing girls' self-perception: the role of the mothers, mothers' economic situation and general social exclusion.

Keywords: ethnic issues, identity issues, self-image, violence

Topics: Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Trauma, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2010

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